Special Assistant to the Vice President, Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Information Technologies, Northern Illinois University
Melanie Magara is an award-winning public relations professional with more than 25 years’ experience in strategic communications management, public relations, branding, marketing communications, media relations, crisis communications, issues management, and executive communications in both public and private sectors. In 2008, she directed communications following a tragic shooting on the NIU campus – an effort for which she and her staff received the nation’s top PR award from the Public Relations Society of America. Prior to her time at NIU, Melanie served in a similar position at her alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and at Carle Foundation Hospital and Clinic in Urbana. She is a frequent conference speaker and workshop presenter and has been featured in numerous professional journals and magazines, as well as in the popular textbook Values-Driven Public Relations (Guth and Marsh, University of Kansas, 2011.
Center for Governmental Studies, Northern Illinois University
Samantha Brunell is a graduate of Northern Illinois University’s (NIU’s) nationally ranked Master of Public Administration program where she earned her specialization in Public Management and Leadership. She has worked as a research associate specializing in communications and public information for NIU’s Center for Governmental Studies since February 2013. While working on her MPA, Samantha served as a communications /administrative intern for the City of Rockford’s Office of the Mayor, where she worked closely on projects with the city administrator and human resources director as well as gained primary responsibility for the City’s public information functions. Samantha earned her BA in broadcast journalism from NIU in December 2010.
October 22, 2013, Lake County | November 5, 2013, NIU Rockford | April 15, 2014, NIU Naperville